HWP Holiday Classic: In Kevin We Trust by Tim Nuttall

Oh, the holidays. The time of year for heart-warming family fun, presents, snow, lights, sugar, miracles, chaos, mischief, and pain. And what movie better encompasses all this than the 1990 holiday classic, Home Alone? Not only does this movie warm your heart and tickle your funny bone but it also has some of the most ingenious and painful boobie traps seen on screen. With a little holiday cheer, here is our ranking of the most outrageous and cringe-worthy boobie traps sweet, little Kevin McCallister had up his sleeve.

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#15) Kevin Get Your Gun:

Ingenuity: 1/10

Pain: 2/10

Laughability: 3/10 - “Hello!”

Lethality: 1/10

Total score: 7/40 = 17.5 %

#14) Drop Me a Line:

Ingenuity: 2/10 - Classic slapstick comedy.

Pain: 3/10 - Depending on take-off speed, this just ends up being more of a hinderance.

Laughability: 2/10

Lethality: 1/10 - You would have to try and kill yourself with this trap.

Total: 8/40 = 20%

#13) Itsy-bitsy:

Ingenuity: 2/10 - More luck than anything, but Kevin was smart enough to use to his advantage.

Pain: 0/10 - We’re thinking emotional scarring.

Laughability: 7/10

Lethality: 0/10 - Just don’t swallow that spider.

Total: 9/40 = 22.5%

#12) Hardy-Tar-Tar:

Ingenuity: 5/10 - Great idea but what about the clean up?

Pain: 1/10

Laughability: 3/10

Lethality: 1/10 - As long as you’re not stuck there forever.

Total: 10/40 = 25%

#11) Harry Chicken:

Ingenuity: 4/10 - This is funny and surprising but it doesn’t really break the mold.

Pain: 0/10 - ...feathers.

Laughability: 7/10

Lethality: 0/10

Total: 11/40 = 27.5%

#10) Fast and Furious:

Ingenuity: 3/10 - Kevin is very lucky they didn’t look down at this sea of cars.

Pain: 3/10 - This isn’t so much of a pain trap as it is a ‘gotcha’ trap.

Laughability: 5/10

Lethality: 1/10 - Worst case scenario: he slipped and snapped his neck or landed on a coffee table.

Total: 12/40 = 30%

#9) Everyday He’s Shoveling:

Ingenuity: 0/10 - Kevin’s plan almost failed, this was luck.

Pain: 6/10 - This is the final blow that knocks Harry and Marv out.

Laughability: 4/10

Lethality: 3/10 - This is a knockout move not a kill move.

Total: 13/40 = 32.5%

#8) Slippery Slope:

Ingenuity: 3/10 - It’s the small details that we forget about.

Pain: 4/10 - You’ll feel it but an ice pack and sleep will help.

Laughability: 7/10

Lethality: 4/10 - It’s all in the execution.

Total: 18/40 = 45%

#7) Fallen Snow Angel:

Ingenuity: 5/10 - Cutting the rope was smart but if the two weren’t so dumb they would have realized Kevin could have run away at any time and was obviously waiting for something.

Pain: 8/10 - You swing like George of the Jungle straight into a brick wall...and tell me how you feel.

Laughability: 5/10

Lethality: 2/10 - If they were higher or swung harder than this would have been a problem.

Total: 20/40 = 50%

#6) Ironman:

Ingenuity: 7/10 - Who would think a kid had the time to take apart the lightbulb and set up a fake?

Pain: 4/10 - You may be a little ‘pressed’ to get the mark off but you’ll live.

Laughability: 6/10

Lethality: 4/10 - You’ll be seeing stars for awhile.

Total: 21/40 = 52.5%

#5) Poppin Ornaments:

Ingenuity: 6.5/10 - This only works because Marv didn’t put his shoes back on. What are the chances?

Laughability: 9/10

Pain: 7/10 - Ow...

Lethality: 3/10 - This is mostly painful unless the glass draws enough blood.

Total: 25.5/40 = 63.8%

#4) The Pit and the Pendulum:

Ingenuity: 7/10 - I certainly did not see that coming...and Harry saw it too late.

Pain: 8/10 - Besides walking into a heavy swinging paint can aimed at their faces they also fall down half a flight of stairs onto the floor.

Laughability: 8/10

Lethality: 6/10 - If either bandit fell wrong or got hit in the temple than this story might have ended more gruesome.

Total: 29/40 = 72.5%

#3) Hot Head:

Ingenuity: 6/10 - Who has a casual blowtorch in their house? What does the dad do again?

Pain: 9/10 - Holy smokes he lit his head on fire.

Laughability: 7/10

Lethality: 10/10 - What if Marv had entered the back door instead of Harry? It would have burned Marv’s face off!

Total: 32/40 = 80%

#2) Doorknob from Hell:

Ingenuity: 10/10 - Who would think doing something so mundane could hurt so spectacularly?

Pain: 9/10 - Note the scars in the sequel.

Laughability: 8/10

Lethality: 7/10 - You could get an infection or have your face fall on the doorknob but it wouldn’t kill you.

Total: 34/40 = 85%

#1) Nail in the Coffin:

Ingenuity: 10/10 - What kind of sick, twisted kid--?!

Pain: 10/10 - I always cringe so much at this part.

Laughability: 8/10 - Is this really funny? I’M NOT LAUGHING ANYMORE!

Lethality: 7/10

Total: 31/40 = 87.5%

Did you agree? You have your own ranking? Let us know!

So What Happened? The Rise (and Fall) of the Dystopian Blockbuster by Tim Nuttall

It’s the end of November and we’re still nursing a turkey hangover. Looking back, it has been a busy month of family time, friends-givings and Christmas preparations. But it’s also been a huge month for movie releases! Year after year, November proves to be the month for million-dollar franchises and Oscar-nominated releases. Recently, however, we should note a shift away from the young adult dystopian adaptations that powered theaters over the last five years.

We’re talking about the Divergent’s and the Maze Runner’s; the Bella Swans and the Katniss Everdeens. In November 2012, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt.2, the final adaptation from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series, came out. Earlier in March Hunger Games was released. The Twilight adaptations set a wave in motion and Hunger Games brought that wave crashing down. These stories set in a future ruled by an authoritarian system of government featuring an incredibly special and appealing teen once ruled Tinseltown. So what happened?

Why did these futuristic, totalitarian young adult movies become so popular? Here are a couple of theories to chew on:

1)    The Connected Theory - In 1990, the World Wide Web took off and by 1994 there were a million browsers. In 1998, we saw the creation of Google. With this, the world began to feel more connected and seemed to shrink in size. Then social media came onto the scene with the creation of MySpace (2003), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006) and Tumblr (2007) with many other platforms to follow. The web of connection grew, thus promoting a feeling of uniformity and sameness. This ushered in a generation who salivated for the opportunity to stand out and be different from the crowd. A generation that wanted to rebel against the system. So when these books came out about characters who were doing just that, it seems only natural that the books flew off the shelves. These stories answered to a generation’s feeling of not wanting to be labeled and categorized in a box. When these books were bought and adapted the public ate them up.

2)    The Obsession with Impending Doom Theory - In 1991 the Cold War was declared over, the Gulf war occurred between 1990-1991, the two towers went down on September 11th, 2001, North Korea resumed nuclear activity in 2003, and America declared war on Afghanistan in 2001 and war on Iraq in 2003. Let’s also not forget the brief bout of panic thanks to an Ancient Mayan prediction that the world would end in 2012. Millennials grew up on the brink of the end of the world, or so it seemed. Catastrophes and disasters that were out of our hands were around ever corner. War, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and conspiracies were common subjects. It is no wonder why writers began writing more stories about possible future outcomes of a corrupt broken society. You could argue that millennials have a mission to save the world from the mess it has gotten in. Writers and film studios were wise to harness onto that line of thinking.

3)    The Rise of Feminism, and the Fall of the Patriarchy - It could easily be argued that today’s day and age has seen a swift rise in feminism. Women are gaining more and more ground as equals and leaders in the workplace, family, school, arts, sciences, athletics and in everyday life. These young adult novels and movies reflect the rise of strong independent women. The glass ceiling is being broken and old systems are proving to be antiquated. This isn’t just demonstrated in stories with strong female protagonists such as The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, and The Divergent Series but also in movies with male protagonists like The Maze Runner and The Giver. All these teen dystopia films present feminist themes; fighting against a system that categorizes, separates, and squashes those underneath it. Tris, Katniss, Bella, Thomas, Jonas are fighting for equality and freedom of choice, they are fighting against the patriarchy and they are winning.

Whether or not any of these theories are true, the thirst for these common themes has faded. Very simply this niche genre was overused and abused. Audiences are all for cheering on a hero against a corrupt society, but we’re tired of the same stories with the same archetypes. The love interest that is weak; the protagonist that is just generic enough so we can insert ourselves in their shoes; the all-powerful leader who takes away all choice from the people for their good; the government that attempts to thwart the efforts of one teen; parents/authorities that are just clueless to the corruption; and scenarios that don't quite seem believable even in their own dystopian world.

If studios want to recapture the love of audiences that once stayed up till midnight to see a premiere then some molds need to be broken and revamped. Characters need to be given more depth, scenarios and plans need to make logical progression. There needs to be stronger reasons why only one certain teen can save society and why no one else can or there needs to be a sharing of the title ‘savior.’ This sub-genre was a response to the millennial generation, and now it is time for the rising generation to respond back with even better stories.

TAR Previews at 2016 Los Angeles Comic Con by Tim Nuttall

The TAR cast (Aaron Wolf, Stu Stone, Nicole Shipley, Max Perlich and Cinta Laura) during the LACC panel.

The TAR cast (Aaron Wolf, Stu Stone, Nicole Shipley, Max Perlich and Cinta Laura) during the LACC panel.

Howling Wolf Productions took the legend of TAR to Stan Lee’s 2016 Los Angeles Comic Con during Halloween weekend. Aaron Wolf and much of the cast—including Max Perlich, Tiffany Shepis and Cinta Laura—were in attendance for signings, giveaways and an exclusive teaser reveal of the new horror feature.

Tiffany Shepis and Aaron Wolf at the TAR/Action Lab LACC booth.

Tiffany Shepis and Aaron Wolf at the TAR/Action Lab LACC booth.

HWP's Favorite Horror Graphic Novels/Comics by Tim Nuttall

This past Hallo-weekend, HWP’s upcoming film ‘TAR’ hit Stan Lee’s Comic Con in partnership with Action Lab Comics. In the spirit of this delightfully frightful news, here is a list of some of our top picks for horrific and dark graphic novels. From historical to otherworldly to downright gory, these stories will transport you to a world that you’ll be glad you don’t live in.

Locke & Key:

Gabriel Rodriguez, Joe Hill

IDW Publishing

2008 February

Locke & Key is a graphic novel series you will lose yourself in. It has magic, mystery, and a mansion with doors that change those who walk through them. Created by Gabriel Rodriguez and Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, this story is a must-read for those who love sound structure, great storytelling, mystery and horrific darkness. 

From Hell:

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Eddie Campbell, Alan Moore

Eddie Campbell Comics Top Shelf Productions

Knockabout Comics

1999

If you have a hankering for serial killers and stories with depth, ‘From Hell’ is the graphic novel for you. Set in dark Victorian England, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell tell the story of Jack the Ripper, relying heavily on extensive research. The story is beautifully told from the perspectives of the victims, authorities, and the killer himself.  While no one knows exactly who Jack the Ripper is, this fun and gruesome theory will have you flying through the pages. Gore, sex, murder, scandal, and an age-old mystery; don’t miss out on this Halloween season.

Batman Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Grant Morrison, Dave McKean

DC Comics

1989

If you are a fan of digging into the twisted and scarred psychology of heroes and villains then this is a must for you. Batman enters Arkham Asylum on April Fool’s day when the Joker delivers a hostage ultimatum. Batman’s journey down the insane halls reveals more about the damaged patients and our hero himself. Through the unconventional story panels we enter a world of dark, twisted madness in which Batman faces his deepest fears, regrets, and inner darkness. If you loved playing Rocksteady’s awarding winning game Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) then you’ll love reading the story that started it all.

Black Hole:

Charles Burns

Kitchen Sink Press, Fantagraphics

Patheon Books

1995-2005

Mix The Twilight Zone with the 70’s, teen angst, Seattle, and STD’s and you get Black Hole. A bug is going around that mutates the body in grotesque ways. The story centers around a group of teens who are forced to face the terrors of this new sexually transmitted disease. The world Charles Burns has created is dark and sexually-charged, and readers will not want to put it down. If twisted horror and the 70’s are your vibe this indie is a must-read for you.

American Vampire:

Stephen King, Scott Snyder, and Rafael Albuquerque

Vertigo

March 2010

From the minds of Stephen King, Scott Snyder, and Rafael Albuquerque comes a world of ferocious terrifying vampires. This series tells the origins of the American Vampires and the struggle between the Old European and new vampire societies. Jumping from the wild west, to the roaring 20’s, to World War II and so on, we follow a cast of characters you can’t wait to see kill or die. These aren’t your typical Transylvania immortals nor are they sexy sparkly Cullen vampires. This story is a strong, gritty classic.

Puppet Master:

Shawn Gabborin, Michela Da, and Yann Perrelet

Action Lab Comics

November 2015

Last on our list is the retro, 80’s-inspired throwback, Puppet Master. Created by Shawn Gabborin, Michela Da, and Yann Perrelet, this horror favorite is based off of the cult classic movies. A group of teens stay in an abandoned hotel, where legend has it that dolls left behind will fulfill their wishes. These comics go straight for the killing puppet creepiness right away and don’t hold back. For those who love Puppet Master, gore and horny teens, this is a great series by Action Lab Comics to pick up.

Honorable Mention: Zombie Tramp

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Dan Mendoza

Action Lab Comics

October 2013

If you thought you needed more zombies, revenge, rage, and sexiness in your library then look no further: Zombie Tramp has that for you. Created by Dan Mendoza, this Action Lab comic is a fun gory one. The story centers around Janey, a Hollywood call girl who turns zombie after a bad deal. Angry at the world and her lack of luck in life, Janey goes on a killing spree seeking revenge and satisfaction.

Happy Halloween!

HWP's Wolf Featured in USA Today by Tim Nuttall

As a student with dyslexia and ADHD, Wolf recalls the struggles he faced inside and outside of the classroom.  By overcoming obstacles, Wolf has been able to shine a special spotlight on this topic and raise awareness for a community that needs to be recognized.

“Once people conquer the things they struggle with, or collaborate with those who have strength they don’t, the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish.”

Find the full article here.

HWP joins forces with HollyRod for DesignCare 2016 by Tim Nuttall

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Last weekend, HWP joined forces with the HollyRod Foundation, Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete for their annual DesignCare gala focused on raising awareness for both Autism and Parkinson's disease. HWP provided the media content for the night and Aaron Wolf took the stage with Holly in the stand for a noble cause.

The stars turned out in support, just some of which included LA Clipper Chris Paul, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson. Check out the gallery below for more on the event!

Dread Central Features TAR Interview by Tim Nuttall

Popular horror blog Dread Central recently featured an interview with Aaron Wolf about the upcoming HWP horror/thriller TAR starring screen legends Timothy Bottoms and Graham Greene. Check it out now but don't get stuck!

Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming release of the film planned for Fall 2016.